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Google this, there are some options.
I use FB, never the Designer, but I like the compiler and debugger and editor and project managment.
Flex Builder, at the price, is complete rubish. Even on a fast machine the compiler is slow to provide warnings and feedback, the code completion is ameturish and the visual editor is virtually useless if you are using internationalization. Top that off with not having any code formatting tool and refactoring support which is virtually useless and you start wondering what the big price tag is actually paying for.
Now that I have gotten that rat out of my system I feel much better. Work pays for my Flex Builder license so that is what I am using right now but check this out: http://www.osflash.org/mxmleditor Hard to imagine how it could be wors than flex builder.
Sorry, I have to disagree. I've done two projects with out the IDE and one much larger one with and the one with was much easier to design and test and get into production. Compared to other IDE's on the market, FB is not unreasonable in price. As far as performance goes, maybe you want to add some RAM to your develop machine. And while the company I work for has also purchased FB for me, I'm ordering a personal copy to use to do some contract projects. I'll cover the cost of FB in under a month.
Andy C.(never #)
Jono you could use Ant to create scripts for compiling and deploying your flex apps.
FB does have a lot to offer, but it is a hog, and does have a bunch of issues. Design mode is actually pretty helpful for doing pixel tweaking, etc., or working with states. One issue is that embedding assets(images/swf) tend not to appear, so it is best to leave them unembedded until the design is solidified. The style editor is also pretty cool.
If only I was still a student!
At the moment I dont see designing in flex much different to HTML/CSS in a text editor.
Im going to have a look at Ant, sound interesting. I also use Vim as a text editor, does anyone know how to set up compiling and running from there?
FB isn't perfect but I'd never bother doing a Flex project without it. It has flaws but they're by far outweighed by the benefits IMO. I just went and purchased it on my own (once 3 came out)... it's not THAT expensive if it's something you're using every day/week or for a significant project. I think alot of people are just babies about paying for things like this nowadays because Java has spoiled everyone with it's free stuff. There may be a decent "free" Flex Builder alternative at some point, but it's not trivial stuff, I wouldn't count on one too soon.
My biggest complaint is that Adobe really needs to start putting out patches or updated versions more often for bugfixes or feature enhancements, instead of waiting for the next major release for most of this stuff. There's enough important "deferred" bugfixes and features in their bug database (for Flex and FB both) that it kinda damages the value you're getting for your money.
Keep in mind, when criticising Flex Builder, that it is built using Eclipse... which has it's own problems and is probably the root source of many of FB's. (Memory usage esp.)
I agree that working with Flex builder, with all of it's flaws, is far easier than working without it. I am a J2EE developer and I guess I am one of those people you think are Spoiled by having access to quality, free tools. It is interesting to me that you think that the better model is to pay for a feature poor IDE with an incredibly slow patch/release cycle rather than get free an IDE which rapidly produces bugfixes and new releases. Can you provide a credible argument for why this is a better model?
I am not bothered by the FB memory footprint, I am bothered by the compiler which is slow and generally takes far longer than is reasonable to report errors, and sometimes doesn't report compile errors at all if there are other existing ones. It also seems like sheer laziness that Adobe didn't port the existing Eclipse code formatting tool and include testing and refactoring tools. In my opinion these are core IDE components, not optional.
Well I'm a J2EE developer too (a spoiled one!), but my main point wasn't that non-free crappy software is "better" than free quality software... The point was that FB is all we have at the moment.